"If you want to set trends, you have to listen to your customers"

Interview with Martin Kress and Darko Zimbakov about the new 5 series at HOLZMA Treff 2014

"We set the trends" was the motto of HOLZMA Treff 2014. Many HOLZMA customers, prospective buyers and business partners from all over the world were able to experience this first-hand from September 23 to 26. New developments on show included, for example, the HPP 300 multiTec for sawing, drilling and routing and the innovative HOLZMA destacking concept. The highlight of this year's in-house exhibition was, however, the new 5 series. HOLZMA Product Manager Martin Kress and Head of Research and Development Darko Zimbakov answered questions about the relaunch of HOLZMA's high-performance series.


The new 5 series aims to set new standards with an improved extraction system. Why is this such an important issue?  

Martin Kress: Customer requirements have increased considerably in recent years. In addition to emission protection, it is also the simple question of efficiency. If less dust is produced during cutting, this reduces the time and costs involved in unproductive jobs such as cleaning the machines and the parts that have been cut. This is particularly important in industry, where our 5 series saws are mainly used. Here, giant books of panels are cut around the clock, seven days a week. This inevitably causes in a lot of dust. If it finds its way into the switch cabinets, for example, this dust could cripple the electronics. Expensive production downtime caused by machine stoppages would be the consequence. In the light of increasingly interlinked systems in industry, dust extraction is an extremely important issue for our customers – and is gaining in significance. 

How, precisely, have you improved extraction performance?

Darko Zimbakov: With a whole package of measures. It is important to know that dust extraction for a pressure beam saw is a very complex overall system that depends on the interaction of many components. Unlike many other manufacturers, we have developed a system in which, for example, saw dust is captured not only via the saw carriage and the pressure beam, but also at the right-angled fence, i.e. where it usually occurs. In addition, we have improved extraction results by means of dust-trap curtains on both sides of the pressure beam. These curtains seal off the cutting area, thus creating an ideal flow channel. 

But most dust is produced when books of panels are cut centrally and not up against the right-angled fence. How have you mastered this problem?

Darko Zimbakov: With our newly developed dustEx technolgy. Special air jets on the machine table transport all the dust and shavings towards the right-angled fence where they are captured and extracted. 

Martin Kress: dustEx is a perfect example of how we set the trends in panel cutting technology. It has been available for the 3 series for about a year and is meanwhile also available for the 4 series. We have asked our customers how satisfied they are with dustEx and whether they have any suggestions for improvements. The response was very positive. Customers confirm the great benefits of this technology, which achieves excellent results while entailing only minor design work and no great mechanical modifications. So it was just the next logical step to make dustEx available for the new 5 series too. 

Many features of this machine remain more or less unchanged. Why haven't you introduced changes here for the relaunch? 

Martin Kress: There was no need to, because everything has proven its worth. From regular inquiries, we know exactly what our customers are looking for – and that is the criterion for our developments. There is no innovation for innovation's sake at HOLZMA. It is our belief, that if you want to set real-world trends, you have to listen to your customers. That's exactly what we did: we have optimized the 5 series so that it now boasts a uniquely high level of machine availability. 

And the key to this was the extraction system alone?

Darko Zimbakov: The extraction system is an important point, but not the only one. Let's stick with the dust: if it gets into the switch cabinet, that will be fatal for the electronics. This is why our saws now automatically check whether the switch cabinet door is closed before starting. If it isn't, this is indicated to the operator. Lately, stoppages have sometimes also been caused by parts falling into the cutting gap. This is due to the increasingly efficient use of material thanks to cutting pattern optimization. The trimmings are becoming smaller and smaller. We have therefore changed the design of the saw carriage so that small parts can no longer damage it or the energy chain. 

Martin Kress: This is where the significantly improved ease of servicing and maintenance of the new 5 series comes into its own. This, too, increases machine availability and reduces downtimes to a minimum. Even if we can, to a large extent, exclude damage incurred with daily operation – as already mentioned – it must also be possible to replace wear parts quickly. This is particularly important when machines are interlinked. Therefore, we have, for instance, considerably simplified the task of changing belts by modifying the design. And in the case of the new 5 series, all the lubrication points of the saw carriage are now located in one central position and are easily accessible. 

Darko Zimbakov: Other measures extend service life and minimize maintenance work. We have, for example, changed the pressure beam guiding system; this is no longer effected by cylinders, but by means of THK guides. These are significantly easier to maintain and ensure long-term precision. This makes the saw still more independent of wear. 

Furthermore, the recent revamp of the product range now also includes the 5 series: there is now just one standard machine that customers can configure to match their requirements. So this has proved successful? 

Martin Kress: Yes, definitely. Customers have already responded positively to the streamlined HOLZMA model range for the 3 and 4 series. The advantage is the greater choice and flexibility in configuring the machine. As regards equipping the saw, our customers today get exactly what they need for their production requirements – no less, but, above all, also no more. Whatever the customer wants, the price / performance ratio is right.

Whether the new 5 series with its improved extraction system and enhanced ease of servicing and maintenance will prove convincing in practice, remains to be seen. Are you confident that it will?

Martin Kress: I am sure of it! After all, we conducted intensive field tests, as we do for all new developments, and worked out all the changes with selected customers. For example, a large customer of ours has had a new 5 series saw in operation for months. He cuts MDF panels – in books and with many dust cuts – and runs the saw around the clock. He is able to make a direct comparison with two previous models and has already given the new 5 series excellent marks.

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